Prison Cell Church Explosion

September 8 2015

by Lois Pannabecker

Prisons in Honduras generally have about 400 inmates. In the prisons where ECC partner ministries have a presence, twenty to forty percent of the inmates are worshiping together in literal “cell” churches. Gary and Diane Barefoot are Church Multiplication Facilitators (CMF) in Honduras. They give us this report on their most recent visit.

Gary states, “I am so excited about what God is doing through the group of volunteers and the faithful Christians in Honduras!”

Attempting to get a good grasp on the current growth in this ministry, I asked a Train & Multiply (T&M) trainer, ”What do you think this program will look like a year from now?” At first I got a confused look, so I said, “How many trainers do you now have?” They answered, “Seventeen.” I followed up, “Then how many do you expect to have in a year?”

At first I was met with another blank look, then Nora spoke up, “In three weeks we will have a total of sixty-three trainers because several training classes will be completed.” “Ok, how many will you have in a year,” I responded? It was then that it really dawned on them that this program is about to explode numerically. They replied, “Well, we could probably have over one hundred!” to which I added, “probably closer to two or three hundred!”

Today, with only seventeen trainers, we have about as many groups studying and each of those has 5-7 trainees. Within the four prisons where our ministry is active, there is a total of two to three hundred individuals worshiping Jesus as a result of the Train & Multiply program.

God is in the process of opening all the prisons in the country, twenty-six of them, to our program. Praise God for open doors and encouraging growth!

Tags: honduras, prison ministry, ecc, growth, train and multiply,

Miracles Happen

May 21 2015

When we arrived at El Progreso Prison, we were met by the warden and a member of the Honduran Judiciary. She welcomed us and was very familiar with our local volunteers, Lilian and Annabella.

Lillian and Annabella were members of our classes for T&M Levels One and Two. The inmates were gathering in the Chapel to worship with us. We met with and had an opportunity to hear from the “Hijos de Paz.” These four men were on fire for God. Along with Lilian and Annabella, the attendance at the Bible studies was approaching 85 to 90 individuals and growing each week.

The service lasted for one-and-a-half hours as they expressed their thanks to God for providing a way of learning and coming to know Him. They related this to the lessons they had been studying; with many references to the first study, the story of Noah. They drew comparisons to the world in the days of Noah and how they were products of the present evil world. They spoke of the ark as a symbol of Jesus, and that just as the ark had saved and preserved the lives of Noah and his family, Jesus through His death on the cross had paid for their sins and lifted them up and preserved their lives for eternity.

We could truly see that God is directing what is happening, and that with the obedience the volunteers demonstrate, the program will continue growing.

We also learned that great things are happening outside the prison. The program has started in several neighborhoods and people are very interested in continuing the lessons. We heard about one man identified in the neighborhood mapping of Level One as a possible problem. The man had a drinking problem and mistreated his wife and children.

One of the volunteers stopped and spoke to the man one morning as he was sitting in front of his home. They discussed the lessons from Noah and lessons from the T&M booklets “Good News” and “Family Prayers.” He began to ask serious questions and after about two weeks, he invited his wife and one of his teenage daughters to join them as they discussed the material. The family noticed a change in the man, and soon they invited another daughter, and then a neighborhood friend to join them. This group which started almost reluctantly is now beginning to actively seek the Lord and His answers to their spiritual questions.

Tags: prison, honduras, t&m, noah, obedience, good news, family prayers, train & multiply,